Atlanta Music Scene

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2017 Atlanta Jingle Ball concert review: hits, hits and more hits

By REAGAN HORNE on the AJC Music Scene blog

This was written by AJC videographer Ryon Horne's 14-year-old daughter, who is in the demographic for this type of show. It was originally posted on Dec. 18, 2017: 

Bless the parents this holiday season, who weathered the storm that is known as “Jingle Ball,” Power 96,1’s annual screamfest concert. Quite honestly the parents were just as hyped to see new acts like Why Don’t We and pop staples like Nick Jonas, Charlie Puth and Demi Lovato at the pop marathon show held at Philips Arena Friday night.

RELATED: Ryan Fleisher's photo gallery from the concert

Here are things we learned:

—     Why Don’t We, the five-member boy band is pretty much the reinvention of N’Sync, just without the big dance numbers, cupcake melodies and, of course, Justin Timberlake. #WDW definitely has the growing following N’Sync once harbored. With beat drops similar to songs Drake would rap to, the crowd at Philips arena sand in unison to tracks like “These Girls” and “Help Me Help You.”

—     Nick Jonas has spent more than half his life performing on stage, and it shows. Now a veteran popstar, the Jonas brother easily killed his set starting with his R&B tease of a song “Close,” his Golden Globe-nominated “Home,” and his smash hit “Jealous.” Jonas is no stranger to Atlanta, assuring fans this is one of his favorite cities to perform in.

—     Camila Cabello took the stage solo before her former bandmates in Fifth Harmony, performing songs from her forthcoming debut album, set to release this January. She strutted across the stage with two dancers with all the right moves, proving to posses the chops of commanding the stage on her own, especially when performing her hit track “Havana.”

—     If all Charlie Puth did was come out on stage, wearing just a white T-shirt and black cargo pants, and stood behind a piano to sing a few songs, the fans would have been more than satisfied. And that’s exactly what the young Billboard Music Awards-winner did. He managed to make his way across the stage to sing his hit “Attention,” but it was the huge hit “See You Again” that got all the youngins in their feelings. Before he started the song, he shared how the writing began when he and Sam Smith both lost someone close.

—     It wasn’t until I heard the first couple of seconds of a song, before knowing who most of the performers were on stage, this was definitely the case for Julia Michaels. This 23-year-old’s falsetto took over the entire arena when she effortlessly sang her hit “Issues.” It was even more gratifying when the songwriter performed several hits she’s written for megastars like Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” and Justin Beiber’s “Sorry,” in a softer version.

—     Hands down, rapper Logic stole the night with his performance. Although some of the language in a couple of his songs might have been a little heavy for the majority of the audience, the 27-year-old rapper’s message is undeniable. “Peace, love and positivity,” the hip-hop artist declared were the three words he lives by. But perhaps the best part of the show happened when he invited two young fans on stage, both named Charlie. One Charlie, 12, couldn’t hold back his emotions of excitement, prompting Logic to say, “Why are you crying man?” Charlie replied, “you inspire me so much.” Let everyone in Philips Arena say together, “Awwww.”

—     Fifth Harmony was Fifth Harmony, just without Camila Cabello. Nothing new here.

—     By the time EDM DJ Zedd took the stage, there were kids literally sleeping in their parents’ lap. The show lasted just about 3 and half hours. Even Zedd’s loud pulsating swell and pyrotechnics couldn’t wake up some of the audiences. However, that did not keep the majority of the arena from thunderously jumping when he dropped beats for his hit songs “Stay” and “Clarity.”

—     Despite the length of the concert, fans were not leaving before Pop powerhouse and headliner Demi Lovato took the stage. This woman is simply incredible. Yes her voice is as powerful as you may imagine. Yes she can perform. A four-song performance from a star like Lovato on a stage like Jingle Ball serves more like a promo or tease for her U.S tour, which unfortunately doesn’t bring her back to Atlanta any time soon. With that in mind, she managed to get in the hits like “Confident” and “Sorry Not Sorry,” which closed the night out.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.